Harvey and I gathered acorns in our front yard on Sunday. It’s a heavy acorn year, a “mast Year” (I just looked it up, based on a vague memory). Mast years happen every 2-5 years, where oaks make loads of acorns, while other years they make very few. There is no definitive scientific explanation for this, but it has been theorized that in mast years there are so many acorns, some will definitely not be eaten by predators, allowing some oak trees to grow, while in other years, a lower production keeps the population of acorn eating species down.
Anyway. We might make flour. I’ve always wanted to make acorn flour.
Or we might not, but what was really great was doing something slow, repetitive and non-urgent. I’m sure many of you feel the way I do right now (super on edge, high strung, somewhat helpless, verging on hopeless . . . ) although I hope you don’t. It’s negatively affecting my ability to parent. I’m perpetually distracted.
A moment of collecting acorns (and spotting the ones that had germinated and planting them) was just what we needed. Mixed in with writing messages on the driveway to Dad (who was working at the farm) with chalk. “Dear Dad, Goodbye. Please water all the plants on the farm.” It was a great morning.
On Saturday we watched an important new documentary: “Gather”.
It’s about Indigenous American food sovereignty. It’s engaging, optimistic and so relevant. There are a lot of food/soil/regenerative agriculture films out right now, and we were reminded by a social media post by A Growing Culture that much of what is taught/shared/sold as regenerative and permaculture solutions to our food production/distribution problems are co-opted from Indigenous cultures. It’s important to remember that the knowledge and skills needed to produce a lot of food on a little land with less labor still exists. From the home page of A Growing Culture’s website: “Only 19% of arable lands are occupied by smallholder farmers, but small holder farmers make up 94% of the worlds farmers, preserving 95% of agricultural biodiversity and producing 70% of the worlds food.”
We encourage you to watch this film.
And eat your greens!
Hey, it finally rained a little, it has cooled down and suddenly the field of crops that looked the same for about a month burst to life. (We did resort to some irrigation to get us through). We have a lot of lush greens coming your way this week. We know some of you can be overwhelmed by too many greens. Here are a few ways to use up your greens:
Blanch and freeze
Also, eat lettuce and arugula first, pea tendrils and spinach have a much longer shelf-life. We just ate spinach last night from the farmer’s market the week before and it was in great shape. Bunched greens should go in plastic bags. Bok choy will last a long time in a plastic bag – take off twist ties!
For those of you who have been with us for the fall in the past, you know we like to do as much of an open-choice/free-for-all as possible. But this year was a really, really tough growing season, and we want to make sure produce isn’t wasted, so we are going to be a little more specific about what is in the share. You should feel great about this. By joining a CSA and committing to eating what is in season, and what’s available you are supporting a system with very little food waste. We are also, as we said we would, buying in some of the bulk items to supplement the share. This week your carrots and sweet potatoes come from Riverland Farm in Sunderland and your butternut comes from Sparrow Arc Farm in Vermont. If Vermont seems far to you, please know that Matt grew up in our area and moved away to find affordable farm land. The reality is there just isn’t enough farm land in our towns to feed us all, and supporting a regional food system is the way to go.
We think this is a great share.
What’s in the share:
One head lettuce
One bag lettuce mix
One bag spinach
One bag pea tendrils
One bag arugula
One Sugar Pie Pumpkin
One medium butternut squash (A note on these, we bought them from Sparrow Arc Farm, Matt used to run Look Out Farm in Natick way back when, and now farms in Vermont as an important part of the regional food system. Frost came extra early up there and the butternut was not able to be left to cure in the field before packing in the bins. In order to prevent the fruit from stabbing each other with their stems, the stems were removed. Don’t worry, they will still taste great.)
Choose 5 bunches: Beets, Sweet turnips (they are perfect right now, greens too!), radishes, kale, chard, brussels sprouts tops, dandelion greens, bok choy, cilantro, parsley, thyme
Mix and Match 5-6 pounds: Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, eggplant (including fairy tale eggplant, we have a lot, please take some!!!)
|BEET AND TURNIP GRATIN||https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/beet-and-turnip-gratin.html||A gorgeous and light gratin – no heavy cheese or cream – just garlic and herbs and chicken broth to highlight the beets and turnips. (Fill in with sweet potatoes and or radishes as needed)|
|GARLIC ROASTED RADISHES WITH RANCH DRESSING||https://therealfoodrds.com/garlic-roasted-radishes/||Roasting radishes mellows them and gives them a hint of sweetness from the caramelization.|
|BEET LATKES WITH SMOKED SALMON AND CARAWAY SOUR CREAM||https://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/dinner/beet-latkes-with-smoked-salmon-and-caraway-sour-cream/||These colorful latkes are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.|
|ARUGULA SALAD WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE AND PARMESAN CHEESE||https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/arugula-salad-with-olive-oil-lemon-and-parmesan-cheese-recipe-1943201||My favorite use for arugula is as a topping on a caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza but if you prefer a more traditional recipe, check out this super simple but very flavorful salad:|
|CARAMELIZED SWEET POTATO AND APPLE HASH BROWNS||https://www.paleorunningmomma.com/caramelized-sweet-potato-apple-hash-browns/||This is one of my family’s favorite fall weeknight dinners. It’s sweet and savory with a hint of cinnamon. We serve this up with some maple breakfast sausage patties from our meat CSA.|
|SIMPLE LEMON PASTA WITH PARMESAN AND PEA SHOOTS||https://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/simple-lemon-pasta/||Two different CSA members recommended this super simple pasta dish bursting with spring time flavors.|
|PUMPKIN PUREE||https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a11184/make-your-own-pumpkin-puree/||This is my go-to recipe for roasting pumpkins. I roast mine up and freeze in baggies for use in my favorite pumpkin dishes all winter long.|
|BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH CHORIZO-SPICED KALE||https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-butternut-squash-chorizo-spiced-kale||This hearty vegetarian dish uses the same seasonings as chorizo. Don’t have any Pimentón de la Vera picante? Don’t worry – it’s just hot smoked paprika. You can subsittute with smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne.|
|FEEL GOOD FALL SALAD||https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/feel-good-fall-salad/||Versatile fall salad with simple ingredients that can easily be swapped for what you have on hand.|
|GRILLED MUSHROOM AND BOK CHOY TACOS WITH ASIAN CILANTRO PESTO||https://food52.com/recipes/29036-grilled-mushroom-bok-choy-with-asian-cilantro-pesto||A vegetarian taco that you’ll want to make again and again.|